By Ginger | September 29, 2009
Family present? Tick.
Friends all lined up to see you stand or fall? Tick.
Audience about to stand in almost respectful silence? Tick.
Funny thing about playing Newcastle is that it still feels like you’re paying your dues.
Songs are met, initially, with a stillness of quiet approval before a loud cheer of authentication as each song ends. It is, at once, both off-putting and comforting. Nowhere is like Newcastle, and that’s just as it should be.
For me Newcastle is my own microcosmic version of the UK, and in this version crime is met with indifference by authorities almost annoyed by its inconvenience. It’s hard to get jail time in Newcastle. My oldest friend, Panda, meets me during the day for a catch up. He looks very normal. It’s only recently that he’s gotten the use of his right eye back after a severe beating from three teenage strangers who jumped him from behind, knocked him unconscious and proceeded to stamp on his head as he lay. Doctors have reconstructed his eye socket and quite a lot of his face, his eyeball has been taken out twice for surgery and right now only his sense of positivity is getting him through the day. It’s a miracle he’s walking. Or even alive.
The criminals were caught and arrested (having beaten someone up on CCTV only minutes before attacking Panda) and let off with two cautions and one easy sentence. He will be out after a year or two with good behaviour.
They’d have had to kill him to get a more fitting punishment.
This is my England.
More and more people I know are being attacked, or telling stories of people attacked, by random thugs born of a society that provides no release of boredom and a government that offers no deterrent.
When the UK issues the ‘three strikes and out’ law (three offences and you’re in jail, buddy) then I’ll bring my family back here to live.
The band played amazingly well. The audience eventually thawed and lost their cool. It was great to see friends and family again. The bus eventually pulled away to the sound of drunken people arguing by the big market. No doubt someone will end up a bloody mess in A&E somewhere and the public will glibly pay for the doctors’ bills with their monthly taxes. Bills that will continue to mount.
If these people are going to cost us money then wouldn’t one taxable expenditure of a jail sentence for repeat violent offenders be a far cheaper and much safer option?
Don’t we get a say?